Nominate Icons in Surgery for presentation at a future Clinical Congress

For the last four years, the Committee on Video-Based Education, under the aegis of the Division of Education, has worked with Fellows of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) who served as champions to create several videos, each honoring an “Icon in Surgery.” These inspirational and educational Icons in Surgery videos, developed through the Icons in Surgery Subcommittee, highlight the remarkable contributions to “science, innovation, or moral values” of surgeons who were or are Fellows of the ACS.

Previous honorees

Dr. Organ

Dr. Organ

The first Icons in Surgery videos were presented at Clinical Congress 2015 and documented the lives of two surgeon-leaders: ACS Past-President Claude H. Organ, Jr., MD, FACS, and Thomas E. Starzl, MD, FACS. Both videos told of the incredible courage and perseverance that both these icons displayed throughout their lives.

The video featuring Dr. Organ chronicles the surgeon’s inspiring story of overcoming segregation to become an esteemed surgeon leader. Denied admittance to the University of Texas Medical School because he was black, Dr. Organ went on to become an inspirational leader in surgical education at Creighton Medical School, Omaha, NE; the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City; and the University of California, San Francisco−East Bay, where he established the surgical residency training program. He was a recipient of the ACS Distinguished Service Award and was elected to serve as the second African-American President of the ACS. Dr. Organ embodied the spirit of surgical education, mentorship, and inclusion.

Dr. Starzl

Dr. Starzl

The Dr. Starzl video details the story of how at several critical points in the 1960s through 2000, Dr. Starzl made key scientific breakthroughs that allowed solid organ transplantation to become a reality for hundreds of thousands of recipients. When the video about Dr. Starzl premiered at the Clinical Congress, a surgery resident told her personal story of being at death’s door at age two with incurable liver failure—and Dr. Starzl performed a transplant that saved her life. This resident spoke about her life since the liver transplant and how she was in training to become a transplant surgeon herself.

No less inspiring are the videos about other Icons in Surgery, including (all MD, FACS) Kathryn Anderson; Stanley J. Dudrick; W. Hardy Hendren III; Walter Pories; Orlo Clark; Patricia J. Numann; Basil A. Pruitt, Jr.; Norman M. Rich; Seymour I. Schwartz; Anna Ledgerwood/Charles Lucas; Ken Forde; Donald Trunkey; and John L. Cameron, among others.

All previous Icons in Surgery videos can be viewed on the ACS website.

Criteria for nominations

The Icons in Surgery videos must be relevant and directed toward Fellows of the ACS and to potential Fellows, particularly medical students, and ancillary members of the ACS. The videos should not be thought of as suited only to surgeons, as they also serve to educate other members of the medical community and the public. By honoring the icons of today, the generation of tomorrow will have a better understanding of the significant contributions made by these giants of surgery.

The deadline to submit your recommendations for an Icon in Surgery is March 1, 2019—tell us why you believe your nominee should be a 2019 Icon in Surgery. Send nominations to Britnee Sanders at

The Icons in Surgery program is supported through funds from the Division of Education. To ensure further growth of the program and its sustainability, consider a directed charitable gift to the ACS Foundation to support production of the videos in the series. Visit the Foundation web pages and use the pull-down menu to make a donation directed to the Icons in Surgery videos.

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